LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jeff Burton became NBC Sports Group's first hire for the broadcast booth when the network decided the respected driver was a must-have analyst for its upcoming NASCAR coverage.
NBCUniversal has the exclusive rights to the final 20 Sprint Cup Series races, and final 19 Nationwide Series events beginning in 2015 and select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events and other live content also beginning in 2015. The network last covered NASCAR between 2001 and 2006.
The multiyear hiring of Burton was announced Tuesday in Las Vegas at the Motorsports Marketing Forum, the official kick-off of NASCAR's Champion's Week.
"Jeff Burton was always the first person we would seek out when there was breaking news or an issue that needed to be covered throughout our previous contract with NASCAR, so he was the first person we called for this role," said NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood.
"His insights, keen observations and many trophies have earned the respect of everyone involved with the sport," Flood added. "He will be an outstanding analyst, and has everyone here looking even more forward to getting started."
Burton's career as a full-time driver is ending in 2014. The 21-time Sprint Cup winner parted ways with Richard Childress Racing at the end of the season, and Ryan Newman is replacing him at RCR.
He's not done in the car, though. Michael Waltrip Racing said Monday Burton will be a test driver for the team in 2014 and drive in select races. Flood said Burton will split his time in 2014 with MWR and contributing to NASCAR programming on NBC Sports Network.